Tamatea Pou Tikanga Don Hutana was quick to thank his club's development grade players after they beat division two champions Otane in Hawke's Bay's promotion-relegation rugby clash in Flaxmere today.
"Our devlopment grade boys knew we were struggling with injuries and they turned out in force for us today. We even got Colin on towards the end," Hutana said referring to 44-year-old club stalwart Colin Mataira after the Flaxmere Park clash which Tamatea won 22-5.
Tamatea led 10-0 at halftime. Former Hawks basketballer Mataeus Marsh played first five-eighth for Tamatea and scored two tries. Winger Roger Paewai and lock Johnny Wang scored the other tries and halfback Ash Robinson kicked a conversion.
Hutana praised the high fitness levels and solid defensive work produced by Otane.
"That score didn't reflect the game. Tamatea had a couple of x factor-type tries but other than those it was close," Otane coach and former Magpies winger Shannan Chase said.
"Considering we were missing so many key players I was really pleased with what we did. Our commitment levels were nothing short of good and considering the poor weather our little village turned out in force."
Fullback Czebalos Smiler, another former Hawks basketballer, scored Otane's try. Prop Hayden Rapana and lock Nevada Hemopo were an inspirational pair in the Otane pack and centre Jacob Kennedy, a former Magpie, displayed the benefits of his vast experience in the Otane backline.
Tamatea 22 (Mataeus Marsh 2, Johnny Wang, Roger Paewai tries; Ash Robinson con), Otane 5 (Czebalos Smiler try). HT: 10-0.